December 2010 Issue
of Prayer and Solemn Assembly
by Mark Kelly
Southern Baptists are being called
to "solemn assembly" in January 2011 a time of
seeking God in prayer and repentance by key leaders of
the Southern Baptist Convention.
Following the lead of Bryant Wright, president of the Southern
Baptist Convention, members of the SBC's Great Commission Council
which is composed of the heads of the Convention's entities
and the WMU issued a letter November 12 asking Southern
Baptists to observe a Sunday in January as a day of prayer "that
in the sight of God and His witnesses we might renew our commitment
to Christ and the Great Commission."
"We live in desperate times. Our lives, our families,
our churches, our communities, and our nation reflect the ruinous
effects of our sinful ways. To some degree we all have pursued
the things of the world and stand guilty of worshipping the created,
not the Creator," the letter said. "... We must repent
and come before the Father with a contrite heart. We need a heal-the-land
kind of blessing."
In a video posted on www.pray4sbc.com, Wright said the call
to solemn assembly "is about returning to our first love
of Jesus Christ."
"In our Convention, in our churches, and in our lives,
we have allowed materialism, we've allowed hedonism, workaholism
and busyness, technology obsession, all kinds of other interests
of the world to just invade and, really, become bigger priorities
than the priority of our relationship with Jesus Christ,"
Wright said. "We need to fall in love with Jesus again in
a new and fresh way. We need to return to our first love."
Wright said gathering in solemn assembly an element
of the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force report adopted during
the June 2010 Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Orlando
could be the turning point for renewed passion among Southern
Baptists for Christ's Great Commission command to make disciples
among all the world's people.
"It is my hope that, by following the charge the Great
Commission Resurgence Task Force has put before our Convention
... people by the thousands hopefully by the millions
around the Southern Baptist Convention will return to the first
love of Jesus Christ."
The solemn assembly call to prayer and repentance was established
in the Old Testament as a gathering in which the people of God
were called to account and called to prayer, said Frank Page,
president and CEO of the Southern Baptist Convention's Executive
"It is time for Southern Baptists to join in this biblical
pattern of serious spiritual accountability and praying for our
nation, our families, and our life like never before," Page
told Baptist Press. "Around this nation is a small
group of people who are committed to serious, earnest prayer.
I have seen these pockets of serious prayer warriors as I have
traveled around this nation. Let us join them in a call to our
Lord for a genuine Holy Spirit revival. It is our only hope!"
Page said his cross-country travels have impressed on him the
urgent need for concerted prayer.
"In 2006, when I was elected president of the Southern
Baptist Convention, I began an immediate call for prayer and spiritual
awakening among our churches and people. I continue to believe
that it is our only hope," Page said. "Having spent
the last four years traversing this nation, and even meeting with
the last two presidents of the United States, I can truly tell
you that we are more in need of prayer now than ever before.
"I am delighted the Great Commission Resurgence 'challenge'
section reminded us we need to be coming before the Lord to seek
spiritual awakening," Page said. "Second Chronicles
7:14 tells us what we need to do. It's time we do it!"
Mark Kelly is a member of Peace Community
Church in Gallatin, Tennessee, and is an assistant editor of Baptist Press.
Resources for Day of Prayer
by Carol Pipes
In preparation for the SBC Day of Prayer in January,
the North American Mission Board has launched a Web site with
resources to help Southern Baptists answer the call to prayer.
"If Southern Baptists return to biblical, obedient prayer,
not only will it bring God's power as we have not seen it in a
long time, but I believe it will change us in ways we cannot imagine,"
said Kevin Ezell, NAMB's president. "It's our privilege to
support Bryant Wright's call to prayer in this way."
The Web site www.namb.net/sbcdayofprayer provides an eight-step
guide on how to incorporate a prayer emphasis one Sunday during
the month of January.
"Thanks to the PrayerLink leadership, we've developed
a simple one-day plan for pastors to introduce prayer through
the application of solemn assembly in their churches," said
Richard Leach, NAMB's team leader for servant and ministry evangelism.
PrayerLink, the work group of the state prayer coordinators
across North America, developed several resources that are available
online. The prayer guides offer suggestions on what to incorporate
into a time of concentrated prayer.
Other Web site resources to help churches in the observance
include: "Guidelines for Fasting and Prayer," "How
to Lead a Solemn Assembly," and "Church Renewal Prayer
PrayerLink leaders will be introducing these and other resources
in their states, according to Leach.
"It's been over one hundred years since the last Great
Awakening," said Leach. "In 1905, Christians began to
pray because of economic stress, debauchery, everything that we
see in our world today.
"We have had in this nation, over the last thirty years,
a growing call to prayer," Leach said. "It's been coming
from churches, denominations, and other Christian organizations.
I pray we are going to see another awakening in our nation."
Copies of all resources can be downloaded and found online
Carol Pipes is a member of Mountain Lake
Church in Cumming, Georgia, and is a writer for the North American
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